Five games ago the Jazz were 31-24, 7 games above .500, 6th place in the West and 5.5 games ahead of the Lakers. Then something happened and Kobe guaranteed the playoffs and ever since then all the analysts and GM’s and scouts looked deeper into the schedules and realized Kobe might have some validity to his promise. What everyone soon found out was the Jazz have a very tough schedule to finish while the Lakers have a very easy schedule remaining. I don’t think the Black Mamba knew how easy it might be to get in at the time, considering what the Jazz have left.
This is what the teams in the hunt have left:
Jazz (32-28): 11 games home (5 vs current playoff teams) , 11 games away (7 vs current playoff teams)
Warriors (34-27): 15 home games (7 vs current playoff teams), 6 road games (2 vs current playoff teams)
Rockets (33-28): 12 home games(7 vs current playoff teams), 9 road games (3 vs current playoff teams)
Lakers (30-31): 10 home games (5 vs current playoff teams), 11 road games (5 vs current playoff teams)
Just taking a quick glance at this I don’t think in any scenario the Jazz catch GSW unless Curry goes down with an injury. That leaves the Rockets, Jazz and Lakers going for those last 2 spots. If we do simple logic here and everybody wins and loses the games they should (say based on what Vegas would probably lean to) then the final standings end like this:
6th Warriors 47-35 (finishing 13-8)
7th Rockets 46-36 (13-8)
8th Jazz 44-38 (12-10) Jazz OWN the tie breaker!
Out Lakers 44-38 (14-7)
Hollinger’s playoff odds has the Jazz and Lakers tying at 42-40, but I think the Jazz win a couple extra at home that normally wouldn’t be given to them by Vegas or the odd makers. Honestly I think it will come down to if the Rockets and/or Memphis are playing for something on that final night of the season. One game could make or break the Jazz(or the Lakers) the rest of the way. A huge win in OKC or a terrible loss to the Pistons at home could mean everything in this playoff push. Should be exciting for the fans, but something tells me management wanting that extra paycheck for making the playoffs are going to be sweating this out a whole lot more for not trading away Al or Sap. Either way should be a crazy 40 days of basketball.